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A food-lover's guide to the Central Coast

Margarita Daze, Umina BeachCredit: Destination NSW

Delicious meals on available at Margarita Daze, Umina Beach.

#lovensw #newsouthwales

A food-lover's guide to the Central Coast

Margarita Daze, Umina Beach Credit: Destination NSW

Delicious meals on available at Margarita Daze, Umina Beach.

#lovensw #newsouthwales

Hashtags #lovensw #newsouthwales

This small region punches above its weight when it comes to dining out, with a wealth of excellent cafes and restaurants as well as many passionate producers, partly due to the influx in recent years of ex-big city hospitality pros looking for a better work-life balance. Just an hour north of Sydney (or a 30-minute ferry ride from Palm Beach), the Central Coast makes a convenient weekend destination, where you can sip and snack your way through cruisy seaside towns and the buzzy centre of Gosford. From a garden distillery to bright seaside diners, here’s where to dine on the Central Coast.  

The Box on the Water, Ettalong Beach  

For a memorable meal, have lunch at Ettalong Beach’s restaurant The Box on the Water – with floor-to-ceiling windows that let the sea breeze in on warm days as you dine, you’ll feel relaxed immediately. Have a picnic on the sand with an egg and bacon roll or fish and chips from the beach kiosk or dine at the light-filled restaurant for Sydney rock oysters followed by Goan fish curry or Thai-flavoured black mussels, all while enjoying panoramic views of idyllic Broken Bay. Watch the water turn slowly golden on Fridays to Sundays between 3pm and 5.30pm with happy hour drinks and a box of prawns or a cheese plate.  

The Boathouse Patonga Hotel  

Catch the ferry from Palm Beach and a sea of white umbrellas beckons you as you approach Patonga Wharf. Overlooking the postcard-worthy sleepy bay, Boathouse Patonga Hotel houses a laidback pub serving classics as well as prawn linguine with lumpfish caviar, tiger prawns and oysters – the perfect place to kill a sunny afternoon. If you’re passing through, grab a simple breakfast or takeaway fish and chips from the kiosk, but staying the night is highly recommended. The chic boutique apartments nod to the town’s fishing history with tasteful nautical touches and in-room dining.  

The BOX on the Water, Ettalong Beach Credit: Destination NSW

Friends enjoying evening drinks at The BOX on the Water restaurant and bar, Ettalong Beach.

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The BOX on the Water, Ettalong Beach Credit: Destination NSW

Friends enjoying evening drinks at The BOX on the Water restaurant and bar, Ettalong Beach.

#feelnsw #newsouthwales

Patonga Wharf, Patonga Credit: Destination Central Coast

Aerial overlooking Paronga Wharf, Patonga.

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Patonga Wharf, Patonga Credit: Destination Central Coast

Aerial overlooking Paronga Wharf, Patonga.

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Distillery Botanica, Erina

Tucked away in a bushy pocket of Erina, a 10-minute drive from Gosford, Distillery Botanica is the birthplace of Moore’s Dry Gin (the first Australian gin to win gold at the London International Wine and Spirit Competition) and Mr Black coffee liqueur, creations of herbalist and distiller Philip Moore. Pop in for a tasting or join a garden and distillery tour that takes you through the unique plants and botanicals grown on site. Stick around for lunch in the onsite cocktail bar, Bar Botanica (there’s live jazz on the weekend) and leave room for a Mr Goaty Gelato, which is churned on site, or an affogato using housemade liqueurs.  

Six String Brewing Co, Erina 

In walking distance from Distillery Botanica, find independent brewery Six String Brewing Co, a culmination of the owners’ two loves: beer and rock’n’roll. As well as a core range of six ales, lagers and IPAs, Six String produces seasonal one-offs, as well as hard lemonade. Tours are run every Saturday at 11am (bookings essential) where you can get into the nitty gritty of brewing and sample the beers. Beer needs hearty bar food, and the kitchen delivers: burgers are made with wagyu beef and snacks include a basket of wings or loaded fries.

Distillery Botanica, Erina Credit: Destination NSW

Friends enjoying ice-creams at Distillery Botanica, Erina.

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Distillery Botanica, Erina Credit: Destination NSW

Friends enjoying ice-creams at Distillery Botanica, Erina.

#feelnsw #newsouthwales

Six String Brewing Company, Erina Credit: Destination NSW

Friends enjoying beer tastings at the Six String Brewing Company brewery in Erina.

#feelnsw #newsouthwales

Six String Brewing Company, Erina Credit: Destination NSW

Friends enjoying beer tastings at the Six String Brewing Company brewery in Erina.

#feelnsw #newsouthwales

Lago Cucina, Budgewoi 

Located on level one of the Budgewoi Hotel, Lago Cucina is a chic addition to the sleepy lakeside town. With terrazzo counters, rattan chairs and whitewashed walls, this Mediterranean-inspired restaurant is Italian at its best. Try dishes that let produce sing such as handmade burrata with cherry tomatoes, zucchini flowers, truffle and mushroom raviolo, and sample local seafood through dishes including crab linguine and calamari fritti. With a selection of woodfired pizzas, a kid’s menu and a bespoke cocktail list, it ticks all the boxes, whether you’re meeting up with friends or bringing the whole family.

Burnt Honey Bakery, Copacabana and Long Jetty

First opening in 2019 in Copacabana, Burnt Honey Bakery quickly gained a cult following due to its wide range of sourdough bread, perfect croissants and community-minded approach. That popularity led them to open Burnt Honey Bakers Pantry at Long Jetty, which sells a curated selection of cookbooks, specialised baking ingredients, tools and pantry goods alongside pastries. Try one of their famous brown sugar cinnamon buns with burnt butter glaze and take home a few loaves of sourdough and a jar of sour cherry and almond biscotti. Keep an eye on their website for pastry masterclasses so you can recreate these delectable treats at home.

Burnt Honey, Copacabana Credit: Nikki To

Fresh pastries available from Burnt Honey cafe, Copacobana on the Central Coast.

#feelnsw #newsouthwales

Burnt Honey, Copacabana Credit: Nikki To

Fresh pastries available from Burnt Honey cafe, Copacobana on the Central Coast.

#feelnsw #newsouthwales

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